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Thursday, January 20, 2005

"A Fire in the Minds of Men:" Reaction to the Inaugural Address

My first impression is that this was a good speech. It benefited from a decent, even delivery but even more from its exceptional content.It was a very idealistic and uplifting speech for a 2nd term president whom common wisdom says typically lack vision or an agenda (although common wisdom is generally wrong when it comes to this man). And it was mercifully short on the laundry-list of domestic policy proposals that mark most addresses.

Bush also talked more about the lofty, abstract concept of liberty than I can remember most of his predecessors doing -- you can tell this is something in which he deeply believes. The speech effectively combined JFK's "bear any burden" sense of America's responsibility to provide global leadership with Reagan's optimism in the triumphal march of freedom.

While it is sweeping in its content, the address also had a few good sound bites. Here's the line that I think will prove the most memorable:

"By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well -- a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."

All in all, the address was a refreshing contrast to the minutiae that usually dominates political discourse.

P.S. The full text is available online:,2933,144976,00.html


Eric M. Jackson is the president of World Ahead Publishing and the former head of PayPal’s marketing department. His book,

The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth
is on sale now.